The Kingdom of Heaven is like a student who,
seeing a classmate being bullied,
goes to him and, standing beside him,
says to the bully,
“If you want to pick on him, you have to pick on both of us.”
One of my seminary professors, Celia Sirois, observed that Jesus’ parables are simply stories intended to convey truths about God. The settings and details of those stories are based in the experiences of Jesus’ first century near-East listeners. Why, she asked, has the church expended enormous energy explaining those stories and almost completely neglected the task of writing our own, with modern settings, to illustrate what we know of God?
That question certainly offers a challenge but are we in a position to do this? Would we not, in some way, be competing with Jesus’ parables and potentially drawing people from them? Perhaps, but the gospel can’t be spread without some risk and I find myself of late willing to take that risk. The previous blog post is a humble attempt to challenge the stereotypes many of us have of the afterlife and expand our thinking. I see those qualities in some of Jesus’ stories as well.
The illustration above is something a bit more straight forward. It is adapted from a story told in one of the Chosen confirmation program videos presented by Ascension Press.